Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Essence of a Youth Football Tailgate

We are in full swing of football season.  When one has two boys (ages 10 and 8) that need to have their fall afternoons filled with some sort of activity, football is a natural reaction.  And a reaction (not a selection) it really is.  Football practice three days a week.  Two football games during the weekend.  And add the fact that I am coach of my 8 year old's team, it makes for a busy season.  We barely have time to breathe.

One of the few things that is football-related that does not require me to spend too much time in thought watching film, managing the team or working within a league system is the proverbial tail gate.  I want to have it be an annual tradition for my team.  We don't have to do it every game.  We simply pick a late afternoon game, and plan the day around it.  I let others take the lead and bring the food and drinks.  I am secretly hoping that someone will bring a bottle of beer that I can hide in my car for after the game.

Our Tailgate did NOT look like this!
Now our "tailgate" has a different connotation than it does at a place like Foxborough.  We aren't parked behind a liquor store playing corn hole in the mud, like we would be for a Patriots-Jets game.  We aren't dodging the drunk 55 year old guys who revolve their entire lives around the Sunday morning and afternoon tailgate and piling our cans of beer on the light stanchion right before you cross the underpass - like we would at Foxborough. Instead we drive up in our cars, put out tables and food and watch the kids play.  I wouldn't let them (the kids that is) eat too much food - I mean we have a big game this afternoon, against one of our hated rivals.  I don't want any kids puking on the practice field because of an array of cupcakes, pizza and Jolly Ranchers.

So we continue to watch the kids.  Perhaps the soda and candy has gotten them hyped up because not they are jumping up and down playing a unique form of leap frog.  I'm just happy that I can talk to people and not have to talk about football.  I love it, but I like to talk about other things too once in a while.

And this is actually my second tailgate of the day, tailgating after the morning game with the Junior Varsity team.  My stomach is full of bagels and Diet Coke.  I think my belly hurts more than any other.

But after a little while, I lead the kids up to the practice field behind the school so we can get our warm ups in.  We'll be ready for this game.  Jolly Ranchers, pizza and all.  We leave the tailgate to the field and I see the other parents and kids continue the revelry.  Mission accomplished (although no one brought me a bottle of beer for after the game).

This is a tailgate I would gladly bring my kids to.  More to come.

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